What We Leave Behind

There is a brief story in the Acts of the Apostles about a woman named Tabitha (which is translated as Dorcas within the text). Luke, the author of Acts, recounts how Peter was visiting a community at Joppa and on that occasion one of their number, Tabitha, fell ill and died. When Luke introduces Tabitha, he paints a vivid picture of who she was with just a few words.

She was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.

Completely occupied. I am so challenged by this phrase, especially given my penchant for bouncing from one thing to the next. Right now I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series, because in a few months Ben and I are going on a belated honeymoon (yay!) to London, among other places. The books have, if I may borrow the phrase, completely occupied my brain! I have the books open on the counter, I even made a little book weight out of duct tape and pennies so that I wouldn’t have to hassle with opening the book when I have a spare moment to read a few lines. The problem, of course, is self control. Reading beats dusting and dishes any day.

After Tabitha died, the other widows and members of the community bring to Peter the tunics and cloaks she had made for them while she was alive. This is even more indicative of the kind of person Tabitha was. She didn’t just think about good works, she did them. She poured her labors and efforts into those cloaks so much so that they became treasured possessions of those who remained.

Reflecting on Tabitha has been slowly unhooking my mind from those things that keep it from being fully occupied with Christ. Is reading for myself a good thing? Yes, of course! Is it a good thing if it becomes my excuse to neglect my chores or to be short tempered with my children because I didn’t get to finish my chapter.

It comes down to living more purposefully in the present moment. God has gifted me with this day, this moment. How am I going to best use it to bring Him praise and love? Unintentionally, the spot in the kitchen I chose to keep my book happens to be right below an icon of the Blessed Mother I have. I didn’t notice when I started keeping my books there, it was just a convenient spot. Looking back, I can hear God chuckling at me, knowing this process of growth I would be going through under the watchful eye of my little Mother, not realizing until later she was guiding me all along.


Just as Tabitha gave all of herself to her community, Mary too was “completely occupied” with doing the will of God. Mary teaches us to “ponder these things in our hearts.” The day to day, the big and the small, the joy and the sorrow.

Now, when I go to read and find myself quickly pulled away by the needs of another, I look up at the icon and do my best to thank Mary for the opportunity to read, and the opportunity to serve. I hope that this model of a mother who strives to care for herself as well as others is one that sticks with my children. I want them to grow up recognizing that a life lived in service is a life well lived.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

December 6, 2016 – Looking Outward

Mary is a great example for us in Advent, especially her fiat and all that follows. We saw yesterday how Mary said yes to God and His Will for her life. Today, let’s look at what follows.

When Mary says yes to God, her life changes course and she begins to move along a different trajectory than the previous day. She went from being one Mary among many (Mary was a common name) to Mary, the Mother of God. Talk about a life change.

In her discussion with the angel, Mary is told that her cousin Elizabeth is also pregnant. This is a big deal because we are specifically told Elizabeth was too old to have children. In my opinion Mary is told this information for two reasons. First, to help her understand what was happening and what was being asked of her. Mary is, after all, completely human.

Second, it’s for all of us. From her first moments as the Mother of God, Mary is teaching us what it means to fully follow Christ. Mary could have stayed home. She could have begun sewing clothes for Jesus while trying to make Joseph and her family understand what had happened to her. Instead, she looks outside of herself and chooses to serve her cousin.

Uniting our will as Mary did with God’s involves looking less to our will and focusing on God’s. Part of Original Sin is an inclination to put ourselves first and others second, or third, or never. Mary’s choice to visit Elizabeth concretely displays for us the attitude or posture that comes from uniting our will with God’s.

Who is one person you can serve in a special way today? Perhaps there is someone who you have noticed needs your time, attention, generosity or random act of kindness. Take the time today and serve that someone.

***Were you able to find 3 opportunities to more fully unite your will to God’s? What was your attitude like when you found an opportunity? Did you find that you already unite your will to God is some areas of your day, but avoid it in others? Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com